Mickey Mantle Baseball Card Sells for Record $5.2M

    • In 2020, a 2009 Mike Trout rookie card sold for a then-sports-record $3.94 million.
    • Cards are just one-tenth the size of the coin market and one-fiftieth of art.

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The trading card industry started off 2021 with a bang. 

An extremely rare 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card sold for a record-setting $5.2 million, it was announced Thursday.

Venture capitalist Rob Gough bought the Mantle, which was last sold by retired NFL lineman Evan Mathis in 2018 for $2.88 million.

This particular PSA 9 1952 Topps Mantle is one of six with an authenticity grade of 9 out of 10. The three “10” cards are reportedly in “strong hands.” 

The trading card industry entered the year riding a monumental 2020: 

  • A 2009 Mike Trout rookie card sold for a then-record $3.94 million.
  • A 1979 Wayne Gretzky rookie card sold for a hockey-record $1.29 million.
  • A 2003 LeBron James rookie card sold for a basketball-record $1.8 million.
  • That record was quickly erased when a Giannis Antetokounmpo rookie card sold for $1.86 million.

Sports cards have generated lots of buzz over the past year as investors work toward further legitimizing the asset class.

Gough told Forbes the Mantle deal was “a steal.”